For background, Saul has been annointed by the prophet Samuel (1st Samuel10:1) , and the Spirit of God came upon Saul, at least for an instance (1st Samuel 10:10). There seems to be some division of loyalties, and the nation is in transition between a people with God as their king, and Samuel as their priest and prophet, AND the nation who has a king who is man and flesh like other kingdoms. Earlier chapters are discussed more thoroughly by my blogger sisters, Stacey @ Scribbles and Sustenance, and Angela, @ No Longer Lukewarm.
Blogging Through 1st Samuel 11-12
In chapter 11, following the pattern of olden times, there is strife with neighboring cultures or civilizations. This naturally happens every time the focus and service of the Israelites to the one true and living God wanes or veers.
In verse 5-6 of chapter 11, Saul learns about the threat of Nahash the Ammonite toward Jabesh Gilead, and verse 6 tells us that "the spirit of God came powerfully upon him and he burned with anger."
He cut up a pair of oxen and sent the pieces through Israel along with the intimidating proclamation,"This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel." How is that for a display of anger, from the future king? Or present king, depending on your attitude. The coronation celebration has not yet happened, and this worldly royalty is NEW to this people.
At Bezek, 300,000 and Judah 30,000 men were counted, ready for battle, or "mustered" to back up the words. Verse 11 tells us there was a consequential slaughter. The Ammonites were slaughtered and scattered by the Israelites. Yeesh.
Just the thought of men organizing, in those numbers, to go to battle with no modern communication system, blows my mind. I am in awe, and I read somewhere that the Israelites were not metal workers. I presume that much of this battle was by HAND. WOW, just wow.
Ever heard of Krav-Magra fighting? It is a thing. Roots in Judaism from what I understand. Just a side note.
Altogether, how sad. It did not have to be. We humans tend to be SO FAR from God's will. (my opinion) What I think I see here, is that the people are given a king because of the hardness of their heart toward's God. Their focus and their desire shifted from God, to a worldly king, which they are given.
Disturbance of peace seems to be the price for being out of God's will. A king for His people, besides Himself was not THE LORD's WILL. It seemed to me to be His compromise. He gives what they wanted. Samuel 11:12-14 Saul's "kingship" is made official with that great battlefield victory under Saul's belt. They celebrated.
In Samuel chapter 12, the prophet and priest Samuel speaks frankly to the people. He reminds them of their history and the faithfulness of their Lord God, by recalling specifics. All of the specifics point to a God that is faithful, and who responds to repentance, obedience, and cries from the heart. Also the specifics remind them that forgetting about the Lord, forsaking him, is at a high cost. He reminds them that as prophet or priest, he, Samuel was fair, and not a TAKER. The implication is definitely one of caution, to the effect of, "Watch how your King takes..." (my paraphrase)
Then almost as an exclamation mark to His remarks, he, Samuel, prophesies a thunderstorm on the wheat harvest, and it happens!
"And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king."
Yet as in compassion, verse 19-25, Samuel goes on to urge the people:
* fear the Lord
*serve Him faithfully with your heart
* remember what He has done for you
and he warns,"....if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish."
Interestingly, v.23 inserts wisdom with Samuel's *comment, "...far be it from me to sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you." Also he declares that he, Samuel, will teach the way that is good and right.
I see myself in the Israelites. I see modern culture in the Israelites then. We are so inclined to shift the focus of our values, and our dreams, and our aspirations to those that are selfish, or NOT God centered. His will should be our GOAL.
When His will is put first, peace and blessings follow. When His will is not sought first, there is chaos and distress.
Also I see from Samuel's pledge to pray for them, that failing to pray for our loved ones, our friends, even our enemies, is a sin.*
Oh Lord, forgive me when I am foolish. Forgive me when I am worldly and selfish. Forgive me when I am not faithful to pray as I should, for Your Will, and for others. Help me by the mercy, power, and grace of Your Holy Spirit, to be wise and focused on You. With my whole heart, I desire to serve you. Please continue Your work on me to mold me. In You is all my hope. Thank you for Jesus that I have this HOPE. In Jesus's name I pray, AMEN.
Stacey at Scribbles and Sustenance has the next devotional for our project Blogging Through the Bible. And soon thereafter, Angela will have hers, and I will update with the new link.
Thank you for visiting. Would you share with a social icon to promote God's word?